Understand your parents’ feelings

Commentary by Barry Eppley

Q: I am concerned about my mother having a facelift. She is 57 years old and I am her 24 year-old daughter. I know lots of people have facelifts but that is them and this is my mother. I am concerned about its safety and I don’t want anything to happen to her. Like me, my brother and sister don’t understand why she wants this surgery. She is a beautiful woman who may be aging but still looks good to us. My father just shakes his head but is going along with it. What can I say to talk her out of it?

A: While I obviously don’t know your mother or you, I can share some general comments about ‘older’ people having plastic surgery. Children’s concerns about their parents undergoing some form of face or body rejuvenation is actually very common. Many parents have told me that their children don’t understand or approve of them having elective surgery over something they view as unnecessary. While there may be some understandable medical concerns, most of the apprehension comes from what I often say. “When you don’t have the problem, you don’t see the need.” When one is young and invincible, it is hard to imagine that one day aging and body changes will come knocking. When you develop that sagging neck and jowls or those love handles and stomach that won’t go away no matter what you do, you may have a different perspective on the merits of plastic surgery. I would respect your mother’s desire to look and feel good for herself. A good self-image knows no age limits.

 

Q: Can breast implants be injured during sex? While having sex with my husband he leaned on my breast and it caused some immediate pain. For the past few days now, I have had lingering pain although it has gotten better. That breast also feels a little harder now. Could I have a breast implant rupture? I had silicone implants placed three years ago.

A: Your question is actually a common one and let me provide an overall explanation. The shell or bag of a breast implant is made of a very flexible but strong silicone elastomer material. It is designed knowing full well that it will regularly be exposed to a compressive crushing force…known as mammograms. Any woman that has ever had a mammogram can testify to the fact that their breast is really squashed between two paddles to do a mammogram. Millions of breast implants are exposed to lots of mammograms every year in the U.S. and around the world and there is no evidence that they induce rupture unless the implant shell has already been weakened. So it is highly unlikely that rupture of breast implants can occur as a result of sexual activity. It takes a high energy force to rupture a breast implant such as might occur from an automobile accident or other traumatic injury. What you are likely feeling is a mild bruise around the implant capsule which should go away in a few weeks. The newest gummy bear breast implants from the Sientra company now have high strength form-stable silicone gel which makes rupture of the material very unlikely under any circumstances.